Microsoft has collaborated with Qualcomm to create a Windows on ARM-based developer kit. The miniature PC will be available this summer at the Microsoft Store and is intended to be more affordable in order to encourage developers to create ARM64 apps for Snapdragon-based PCs.
Previously, developers had to buy devices like the Surface Pro X to fully test their ARM64 apps on Windows. That’s an expensive exercise for developers, especially since the Surface Pro X starts at $999 and goes up from there.
While Microsoft and Qualcomm have not set a price for this new dev kit, it is expected to be less expensive than what developers can currently purchase.
This developer kit offers a low-cost alternative to other consumer and commercial devices,” says Miguel Nunes, Qualcomm’s senior director of product management.
“With its smaller desktop configuration, this kit provides developers with greater flexibility than notebook options at a lower price point.”
The announcement of the dev kit coincides with the unveiling of Qualcomm’s second-generation Snapdragon 7c ARM-powered processor. It’s intended for entry-level Windows PCs and Chromebooks, and it has a faster clock speed than the original.
This development kit will also assist developers in testing Microsoft’s new x64 app emulation for Windows on ARM. This was released for Windows testing in December and allows users to run 64-bit apps that have not yet been compiled for ARM-based devices.
Once fully available to end-users, the emulation layer will bring a slew of app compatibility to Windows on ARM.
Microsoft and Qualcomm have promised to reveal more information about this dev kit today at Build 2021, in a session titled “What’s new for Windows desktop application developers.”